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Wednesday, October 12, 2005


Religion reason for Miers pick?

This is getting a little surreal. Today President Bush said part of why he picked Harriet Miers is her religious beliefs. I opined just hours ago that her confirmation was pretty certain unless she says out loud she will vote to overturn Roe. Well, if this keeps up, we may be in for a train wreck in the hearings. "Miss Miers how do you religious beliefs figure into your views of abortion?" and so on...

I will wait to read more from other sources given that this is reported by Nedra Pickler. According to the report, Bush said: "People are interested to know why I picked Harriet Miers," Bush told reporters at the White House. "Part of Harriet Miers' life is her religion." I would like to see the context.

"This is getting a little surreal."

Funny, you just summed up my thoughts on the Bush administration exactly.
And here was I almost about to agree that it was simply because her "talent, experience and judicial philosophy make her a superb choice to safeguard the constitutional liberties and equality of all Americans"... [1]

I guess if her religious beliefs are reason enough to appoint her, this means they are also reason enough to reject her. Jeez, I had really hoped the World wouldn't come to that.

But, you now, Dobson's got the inside scoop... and that alone should reassure me.

Oh, now I might just vomit.

Maturity factor: 0
Nausea factor: off scale
Clue meter: not registering
On a more serious note, I think it's fine that someone's religious beliefs influence their opinions. "Religious belief" is more holistic than just a set of doctrines/dogma. It's probable that the other justices on the court are influenced (in the sense of shaping their entire perspective on law) by a wide range of beliefs, religious included.

However, they must also have the ability to allow those beliefs to be constrained by the text that guides their chosen profession. It's not evident that Ms. Miers would or would not be able to do this. We don't know much about her 'judicial philosophy' simply because she hasn't sat on a bench.

That doesn't exclude her, since (as others have pointed out) Rehnquist hadn't either. But what is concerning to me is that the president would, in today's atmosphere, think that a comment focused on her religious beliefs is appropriate as a defense of her qualifications. And that he would consider religious belief in ITSELF a qualification (that is clearly unconstitutional). And her obvious gushing towards the president is also concerning.

Others have pointed out Hamilton in the Federalist Papers on this one (writing on the reason the Senate confirms Supreme Court Justices):

"He would be both ashamed and afraid to bring forward, for the most distinguished or lucrative stations, candidates who had no other merit than that of coming from the same State to which he particularly belonged, or of being in some way or other personally allied to him, or of possessing the necessary insignificance and pliancy to render them the obsequious instruments of his pleasure."

It's getting curiouser and curiouser...
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